2017 WMA Conference Information



2017 WMA Conference Presentation Descriptions

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Morning Breakouts 9:45- 11:00

Administration: Whole School Montessori Implementation-Administration and Curriculum Coordinators Phil Dosmann, Executive Director, WMA; Melissa Droessler, Head of School, Isthmus Montessori Academy; Katie Grabowski, NCMPS Midwest Coordinator; Erin Trondson; Head of School Woodland Montessori School and Adjunct Professor, UW River Falls

This is a panel discussion on how to implement and maintain a Montessori program in the private or public sector. This workshop is designed for administrators/heads of school, curriculum coordinators and other support staff. Topics will include: record keeping systems and how to support staff in using them, teacher and classroom evaluation system using the Developmental Environmental Rating Scale (DERS), and empowering school leaders with an understanding of the issues, vocabulary, and systems to support diversity and equity in our schools and ensure and support anti-racist/anti-bias Montessori education.

Nido/Toddler: Acquisition and Development of Language from Birth to Age 3-Toddler Level Maura Brunner, M. Ed. AMI Assistant to Infancy, Nido Guide at Isthmus Montessori Academy

Montessori observed a Sensitive Period for language beginning 7 months in utero and lasting until around 6 years old. There are several aspects of language development including spoken language, written language, and reading. The Sensitive Period for learning to speak lasts until approximately 2.5-3 years old. The first 3 years of life is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. So how can we address this incredible time in Montessori classrooms?

Primary: Montessori for Everyone-Successful experiences for all learners-Primary Penny Urban, Montessori M.S. Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Montessori Directress, Retired

Inclusion of students with special needs in a primary Montessori classroom All Montessori classroom communities have diverse learners but how can we be sure young students with the greatest diversity have successful learning experiences? Are there any students who will not benefit from a Montessori program? We will discuss ways to adapt and accommodate students with special needs in a primary classroom as well as “intervention” ideas to use with all students.

Elementary: Get up, Get Out into Nature- Elementary Briana Kyle, Elementary 1 Satira Lord Elementary 2 Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School

Technology and screens are integrated throughout our daily life, as well as the lives of our students. This prevalence makes connecting with the natural world all the more essential to the development of the whole child. This hands-on workshop will demonstrate methods and activities to integrate nature and movement into every learning environment. We will discuss and participate in activities that are focused in integrating nature, science, and movement. We will guide you on how to use the spaces you have to their fullest potential. Attendees will leave with the principles needed to develop their own activities, as well as some ready-made lessons.

Adolescents: Leaders in Your School Katelyn Bratz, Adolescent Directress, Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School

Adolescent students have a great capacity for leadership and community support within your school community. Creating an environment across classrooms and ages, with welcoming and inclusive programming, can by challenging. Participants will learn about all-school programming, led and organized by the adolescent community to allow for full community engagement.

Morning Breakout Sessions 11:10-12:15

Administration: Creative Avenues for Funding-Administration Bill Walsh, Executive Director, Waukesha Montessori School

All schools face challenges balancing the need for consistent revenue while striving for stable enrollment. Private schools tend to be more vulnerable to external forces like economic recessions and competition from other private and public schools. Mr. Walsh will discuss how he has worked with the School District of Waukesha to secure public funds on behalf of families who want their children to benefit from an uninterrupted Montessori education. His creative method of accessing state funding for students who attend an otherwise private Montessori school will be explored and discussed. Please note, the arrangement employed by MSOW is neither a Charter Contract nor a “Voucher”. Rather, it is a public-private partnership that allows both entities to provide options for the community.

Toddler: Attachment and Responsiveness Caregiving in Infant Environments Tracey Hall, Infant Coordinator, Rock Prairie Montessori School

This workshop will explore how attachment, responsive caregiving and infants’ capacities to self- regulate are interconnected. Discover best practices such as primary caregiver, consistency of care, informed observation, the infant’s prepared environment and the development of meaningful relationships with families. We will discuss how our practices change to follow the child’s development. We will look through the lens of Montessori’s writing to contemplate how our environments embody Montessori philosophy.

Primary: Normalization 2.0-Primary Crystal Dalhmeier, Program Director Emerita at Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education

Normalization in the Early Childhood Environments Maria Montessori wrote that normalization “is the most important single result of our whole work” (Absorbent Mind). As Montessori teachers, we use this term regularly in our descriptions of children, but may not be able to give a clear, objective definition of the process. In this workshop we will examine the three levels of normalization, specific characteristics that signal that the process of normalization is occurring, and qualities of the learning environment that support its development. The difference between normalization and conditioning will be addressed, as well as current societal conditions that interfere with the development of normalization.

Elementary: Finding the “Peace” in Peace Education: A Lesson in Mindfulness Scott McIntyre, AD Guide, and Kate Sargent, LE Guide School/City: Madison Community Montessori School, Middleton, WI

The practice of mindfulness can be traced back over 2,600 years to Buddhist practices. Today, students and teachers are seeing the benefits of mindfulness in their classrooms, especially when used during transitions and other less-than-peaceful parts of the day. In our Lower Elementary and Adolescent environments, we have explored approaches to mindfulness including: intentional breathing, focus on the present moment, journaling, and educator mindfulness to bring peace to our classrooms. This workshop will highlight what has worked in our environments, share tools and resources towards creating your own peace curriculum, and explore ways to practice mindfulness as an educator.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions 1:15 – 2:30

Parents and Primary: Quality Montessori Programs- Parents and Primary Adeline Lucchesi, Lead Primary Guide, Blooming Grove Montessori School, Madison, WI

What, specifically, defines a typical Montessori school? During this workshop, parents will learn core ideas that support a genuine approach towards the Montessori pedagogy and get a glimpse into the reasons for its success. Parents will gain a better understanding of criteria and standards that can guide them through their own journey to rethink Education.

All Levels: Peer Problem Solving-All levels Joe DiCarlo, Principal Maryland Montessori School, Milwaukee Public

Attendees will be refreshed in overall grace and courtesy approaches and activities, while learning and practicing ‘Peer Problem Solving’ techniques. ‘Peer Problem Solving’ supports student independence in solving peer problems and provides adults a framework for more effective interactions with students within the Montessori theory of ‘Freedom and Responsibility’

All Levels: Using your Head, Hands, and Heart to Respond to a Child with Trauma History Linda Jacobson, Parent and Montessori Program Director, University of Wisconsin River Falls

In the last few years, there has been more and more research on the effect trauma has on a developing child. Children who have experienced trauma often exhibit logic defying challenging, antisocial, or oppositional behaviors in our classrooms, and are given any number of alphabet soup diagnoses. Whereas, in reality, these behaviors are often the child’s simple survival techniques.

Trauma does not have to be violence related. Neglect and relational trauma significantly affect a child’s development, behavior and ability to learn. In this session, we will discuss real life stories of children with trauma histories, and what we as parents or teachers can learn from them. Once we understand why these behaviors occur, the challenge for all of us involves managing our own behaviors (and trauma histories), using our head, heart and hands to help the child learn to manage his/her behavior, and learning how best to support them to develop new neural pathways that promote both relational competence and classroom achievement.

Elementary and Adolescent: Balanced Literacy using the Hess’s Matrix-Elementary and Adolescent Nathan Wells, Curriculum Coordinator, River Falls Charter School

Hess’s Matrix combine’s Webb’s Depths of Knowledge and Bloom’s Taxonomy to provide a tool to help us understand the kind of work we are asking our children to complete. When you are done with this workshop, you will be able design a variety of differentiated follow up work options for the children in your class. We will also be creating a database of ideas shared during the workshop for guides to use in the future.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions 2:45- 4:00

Primary and Administration: Cultivating Empathy through Community-Primary and Administration Rosemary Quaranta, Head of Xavier Lab School , Deepa Shreekumar, Directress Children’s House, Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School

There is a growing body of research that details the importance of cultivating empathy and community as early as possible in young children. Brain research has identified the great advantages and positive outcomes for children immersed in experiences that make them exercise their empathy. Sharing concrete and successfully tried suggestions to help build community and empathy in a CH classroom – laying the foundation for successful service based learning in the Elementary and beyond – this workshop celebrates the inner magnificence of the child.

Primary and Elementary: A Montessori Approach to Literacy Best Practices-Primary and Elementary Maureen Harringoton Russell, Children’s House Directress Appleton Public Montessori

At the heart of a Montessori balanced literacy program is a rich learning environment in which initiative, curiosity, thoughtfulness, and imagination are nurtured and celebrated. Students are encouraged to bond as a community of readers and writers. By utilizing a reading and writing workshop, students become more independent, more motivated, and more aware of their strengths and weaknesses in reading and writing. Students also learn to monitor their own learning through goal setting and reflection.

Come explore ways to enhance your students’ literacy development by integrating components of a balanced literacy program, using best practices in a reading and writing workshop format.

Elementary: Linking Geometry and Math Processes in the Upper Elementary/E-2 Classroom Elementary Phil Dosmann, WMA Executive Director and Chris Kjaer, Mathematics Coach and Adolescent Teacher, Highland Community School, Milwaukee, WI.

This workshop will investigate the use of the metal material theorems using the Constructive Triangles to teach concepts of area. Teachers will review angle bisecting, use of the protractor, and compass with the materials. Teachers will learn how to transfer these concepts to real life applications related to the history of housing to determine with students rise over run, pitch, scale and area of figures that pertain to the history of housing.

All Levels: Independence: A Montessori Journey-Elementary Michael Dorer, The Montessori Foundation (St. Paul MN) Let me do it myself! This may be the defining mantra of Montessori education. Why is that so? What does it mean? Is it really all that important? Join Michael in looking at the role of independence in Montessori education and child development. Let’s find out what it’s about!

  • What is independence?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Is there a down side to Independence?
  • What can be done to encourage independence? For Infants? Toddlers and Preschool? For elementary? For adolescents? Even for teacher! Be sure to get in on this exciting Montessori Workshop.

Thanks to our sponsors for their contributions making this years conference such a success!

Wisconsin Montessori Association 2017 Conference ReCap

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